At What Price Democracy ?

This text is a short overview of statistics on annual deaths tied to the worst democratic measures in North America (the numbers are for US mostly). The original french version is more complete.

1. Deaths by the War against Drugs : more than 11 000

80% of deaths by overdose are due to defective products or other consequences of black markets. Only 7 000 people die from drugs every year (comparatively to 400 000 for cigarette, 100 000 from alcohol and 30 000 from suicide), but 80% of that total represents 5 600 deaths (Dr. Mary Ruwart, and US Center for Disease Control). Because drug prohibition makes the price of drugs artificially elevated (almost 100 times higher), addicts resort to criminality, killing many of their victims in the process (about 750 each year).

3 500 HIV infections could be prevented by the elimination of the federal law against the financing of syringe trading (Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco).

Furthermore, Milton Friedman has recently estimated that the war against drugs causes more than 5 000 homicides a year (usually by the police), but this seems to be a high-end estimate. A more reasonable estimation would be 1 500 (once again thanks to Mary Ruwart).

2. Deaths by warfare : average of 7 000

For the United States, the total of the most important wars is :
World War 1 : 126 000 deaths
World War 2 : 500 000
Korean War : 36 000
Vietnam War : 58 000

Restricting ourselves to these four wars, we have an average of 7 000 deaths a year.

3. Deaths by pharmaceutical regulations : more than 5 000

The FDA is by all accounts the most murderous organisation in North America. From the sixties to the nineties, the research delays has more than doubled, from 2.5 to 6 years (Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, Tufts University, May 1995)

Propanolol, invented during the sixties, was delayed by the FDA during three years. The result was between 10 000 and 20 000 lives that could not be saved (Henry G. Grabowski, John M. Vernon, The Regulation of Pharmaceuticals: Balancing the Benefits and Risks – Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1983). For Misoprostol, the delay was only 9 months, but the death toll is between 8 000 and 15 000 (Sam Kazman, “Deadly Overcaution: FDA’s Drug Approval Process,” Journal of Regulation and Social Costs, Août 1990). And the examples go on and on.

An estimation of the annual deaths is difficult. Lower estimates put this at around 5 000 victimes per year (Doug Bandow, author of “Reforming Medicine Through Competition and Innovation”).

4. Deaths by anti-organ-trading laws : up to 5 000

Approximately 75 000 people are on waiting lists every year and at least 5 000 will die on them ever year.

5. Deaths by victim disarnment (gun control) : 1 500+

In states where laws favour bearing concealed firearms, murder rates drop by 3% per year in average. The number of mass shootings drop by 84% and deaths due to these shootings drop by 90% (Christopher Gillott, Penn State Young Americans for Freedom).

A modest study published by Lott and Mustard in 1997 calculates that 1 500 lives could be saved every year (as well as 4 000 rapes and 60 000 aggressions), if all american states broke their anti-gun laws. This, however, does not include laws against the making, trading and bearing of arms, especially at home, therefore we must adopt this number as very minimal.

These conservative estimations give us an idea of the annual death toll of democracy in the United States : between 29 500 and 31 000 every year.

The number of deaths, of course, does not include the number of Drug War prisoners (600 000 arrests every year – 50% of prisoners in the United States are victim of the prohibition, according to Fraser Institute), the number of sick, poor, freedoms destroyed, and other disasters caused by our socialist systems.